Playing the Indian Card

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

On Immigrants and Immigration

Immigrant children, Ellis Island.

Here's a column in reaction to Trump's reference to some countries as $#!+holes. It is, the author says, a rather accurate description.

“Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that a few decades later, liberals would be pushing the lie that Western civilization is no better than a third-world country. Or would teach two generations of our kids that loving your own culture and wanting to preserve it are racism.”

I can corroborate her observations as to the pervasive presence of poo. The interior of China was just like that when I first went, in the early nineties. You did not dare to eat a fruit unpeeled—too many microbes. Watermelon was always dangerous, no matter what you did. The water it was grown with was not pure. The catered food at my residence always tasted of urine. So strongly I could taste little else. Kids always relieved themselves in the streets. Public toilets were open pits. No doubt it is much better now.

I must also witness, however, that the author is wrong to say “Our basic ideas of human relations, right and wrong, are incompatible,” or “The truths we hold to be self-evident are not evident to the Senegalese,” or “The Ten Commandments were not disobeyed – they were unknown. The value system was the exact opposite,” or “Americans think it is a universal human instinct to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It's not. It seems natural to us because we live in a Bible-based Judeo-Christian culture.”

Nuts to that. Bollocks. The Ten Commandments were universally understood in their essence long before Moses ever climbed that mountain. I have lived in a lot of places. People are the same everywhere, and they have the same basic values. It is true that people in Third World countries see no point in obeying the law or helping others. This is not because they have a different understanding of truth or of morality. It is because, in such a hopeless social situation, there is no point in obeying the law or helping others. Obey the law when nobody else does, and you starve to death. Expend yourself helping others where there is such pervasive despair, and you kill yourself with overwork or starve to death.

And yes, in most other countries, family is more important, and you are expected to put your family first, often at the cost of any outsiders. This has to do with being unable to trust anyone to whom you are not related, and there being no other functional social structures to rely on.

We should be eternally grateful we are not faced daily with such choices.

Immigrants arrive at Union Station.
Moreover, most people from any of these countries would also be eternally grateful not to be faced daily with these choices. Accordingly, once they get a sense of how things work, they would probably be ideal immigrants, eager to assimilate.

Exactly as were the Irish, fleeing a century and a half ago from the famine. They swiftly became and remain the most patriotic of all Canadians (and Australians, and Americans). They knew a better deal when they saw it.

It is true that different cultures have different emphases. Northern Europeans, for example, tend to put a premium on honesty among the virtues. Chinese instead put the premium on kindness. Nevertheless, it is still right to be kind in Europe, and to be honest in China. And some things become socially acceptable, even though everyone known in their heart they are wrong. Abortion is one current Canadian example. Slavery was another. Everyone also knows in their hearts that vegetarianism is morally superior to eating meat, but most folks are not prepared to make the sacrifice. It is not that values are different, but that some sins have become endemic and generally ignored.

What worries me about immigration from $#!+hole countries is just about the opposite to what worries Trump and most others. It is that the Canadian immigration system is built to favour the upper classes from these countries. It is the upper classes, nobody and nothing else, that have made these countries the $#!+holes they are today. It is the upper classes who are most likely, if allowed to immigrate, to arrive in Canada, sniff around, and decide that things would be better if they were more like home. Because for them, they very possibly were. It is irritating to have to accept being treated just like everyone else, when you are used to being able to walk all over people. They may even, faced with this ugly new equality, complain loudly about “discrimination” and the supposed failings of Canadian culture. And it is the upper classes who have proven themselves most adept, and most callous, about exploiting the corrupt system they have left. They have more to unlearn, even if they should want to.

Far better, I suspect, to bring in the poor huddled masses.

If you want to select for only the most productive, and avoid the potential welfare recipients, fine. At least do not do this based on education, or current wealth. Do it on intelligence and hard work, both of which can be easily measured. For example, an IQ test. For example, a period of indenture, as we commonly used to have, even post-World War II, to earn the right to stay.

In other, but somewhat related, news, Kelly Leitch has announced her retirement from politics. A piece by John Ivison in the National Post maintains this is due to her “tactics of intolerance” and suggests she needs to “redeem herself.”

No way. Nuts of the nuttiest sort. There was nothing wrong with her idea of a “values test” for citizenship, and that is about all she said on the subject. She did not even want to reduce immigration. In effect, we already have this: we require an oath of citizenship. It might not do much, but it is hardy unreasonable. Sure, people can and will lie, but for a lot of people, the real issue is to be properly. clearly informed of what the expectations are, and they will be happy to sign on. They cannot be faulted if we do not let them know.

What goes in to the citizenship test? Not a puzzle; not controversial. It can mostly be extracted from the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Prospective citizens should understand that French and English both have special status in Canada. I have heard immigrant complaints: why French and not my language? They should understand the right to freedom to worship—it is often not allowed in Muslim countries, and there is that troublesome injunction in Islam that apostates and infidels are to be put to death. Which, obviously, some Muslims in recent years have been acting upon. Not okay. They should understand that everyone is to be treated equally by government in Canada, that there is no respect of classes or race. This is unusual, in world terms. It is even questionable in Europe, and still partly aspirational in Canada. But surely it is a bedrock principle. It should be explained that it is not okay here to beat your wife or to force your child into a marriage. Importantly, immigrants must be made to understand that the laws generally mean what they say and are actually enforced. In other countries, they are often window dressing, and everyone nods and winks. This is indeed a bedrock principle in Canada.

“Whereas Canada is founded upon the principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.”

We even love our Mounties. That is shocking and hard to credit for many foreigners, accustomed to see the police as instruments of oppression or as “crocodiles” to be paid off. Even in the US now, it seems.

There are actually other parts of the Charter than many Canadians would probably be upset about. They have no business or right to be, but they would be.

Canadians have freedom of speech, and you have no right to try to silence others because you disagree with them.

“2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other means of communication.”

This is in fact no longer honoured in Canada, with hate speech laws, speech codes, shouting down speakers, and political correctness. One even often hears Canadians these days, including some in government, claim that freedom of speech is an American, not a Canadian, value and not in the Canadian constitution.

This obviously needs to be made clear to immigrants, because it is obviously hard to understand and to accept. It is a problem in many cultures, because in many cultures, a word is considered equivalent to a deed. So that calling your mother a dog is as serious as punching you in the face. So the demand for blasphemy laws and so forth.

Also note that “supremacy of God” bit. It is right there in the preamble. Sure, you have the right to be an atheist, but do not demand secularism from your government. That's not Canadian.

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